WordPress offers scalability that helps create just about any size of website, from simple blogs to extensive e-commerce platforms. However, making the most of a tailor-made WordPress website requires that you have some technical knowhow or seek assistance from a trained professional. To determine if WordPress is a good fit for your business, you need to establish what you’re looking for in your website and how you plan to go about accomplishing your goals.
What is WordPress?
WordPress is the world’s largest open-source content management system (CMS). It helps people with little to no technical knowledge in creating, managing, and modifying website content. While it’s possible to create a website using WordPress without knowing how to code, the best WordPress website designs are ones that are handled by the pros.
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The Difference Between WordPress.com and WordPress.org
You get three options from which to choose when you turn to WordPress. WordPress.com gives you the ability to create and manage a fully hosted website. You may opt for an upgraded plan on WordPress.com to get access to features typically associated with self-hosted websites. The third alternative is to use WordPress.org for your self-hosted website.
If your requirement from a new website limits to personal blogging and you are not interested in monetizing your blog, WordPress.com might work well for you. However, if you’re a blogger or a business owner who wishes to generate revenue through your website, turning to the self-hosted highly flexible and scalable WordPress.org might be in your best interest. While you may choose to pay for advanced features through an upgraded plan on WordPress.com, you stand to get better value for money through WordPress.org.
- Free to use
- Maintenance free
- WordPress.com network helps generate traffic
- Limited theme support
- Cannot use plugins
- Not good for monetization
- Good for monetization
- Easy-to-use plugins
- Complete support for themes
- Requires ongoing maintenance
- Need to generate traffic on your own
- Hosting-related expenses
This post discusses only WordPress.org from this point.
How Good is WordPress for Websites?
What differentiates WordPress from hosted CMS’ such as Weebly and Wix is the level of complexity it allows you to bring to the table. Expandability is another important factor that works in the favor of WordPress because once you build a website using this CMS, there is virtually no limit to how much you may scale up. Here are a few scenarios in which turning to WordPress might work well for your business:
- You need state-of-the-art web design that supports the latest technicalities and offers flexibility in coding.
- You wish to incorporate online payment features.
- You exist in a highly competitive niche and require advanced search engine optimization (SEO) capabilities.
- You wish to give possible clients access to a searchable database.
For anyone wondering “is WordPress a good platform to create a website?” the simple answer is yes, WordPress is good. It is possible to create different types of websites using this CMS, some of which include:
- Business websites
- E-commerce websites
- Landing pages
- Social networking sites
- Online forums
- Online tutorials
- Online portfolios
- Online directories
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The Best WordPress Websites
WordPress gives web developers access to a variety of sophisticated tools as well as the ability to get deep access to HTML and CSS files. This gives them the means to come up with some exceptional designs and highly functional websites. Some of the best WordPress websites you may come across belong to businesses and organizations such as:
- Rolling Stone
- The White House
- Unicef UK
- The City University of New York (CUNY)
Managing Content on WordPress
A great aspect of WordPress is that it lets you segregate features related to design, functionality, and content. This gives you or the web designing agency you’re working with access to higher levels of data portability. Simply put, you may add content to your website irrespective of the design you use or tweak the design without impacting the content.
Businesses that wish to share large volumes of data with their target audience may benefit particularly by using WordPress because this platform excels when it comes to data management. It is fairly easy to manage multiple product pages or posts by turning to the data entry style of content management system that WordPress offers than relying on a drag-and-drop styled website builder.
Ways in which the WordPress content management system can help simplify how you manage your website include:
- Automatic consistency in content. Once your customized WordPress theme is in place, all the new pages and posts you publish will display in the same manner automatically. This gives you or your web design agency the ability to publish new posts with consistency in layout design. Compare this with a drag-and-drop website builder that typically requires every element to be added each time you wish to create a new page, and you’ll realize how much time you stand to save.
- Quick site-wide changes. A centralized customized theme design controls the content layout of your entire WordPress website. As a result, WordPress website developers are able to make site-wide changes by adding new code or tweaking existing code much faster than they would if they were to make modifications to multiple pages one at a time. For instance, if you wish to change the way your website’s featured image appears, making a layout change will ensure that the update applies across all the pages of your website.
- Easy to manage individual content pieces. While WordPress simplifies how you make site-wide changes, this also holds true if you wish to manage individual pieces of content. What helps is that finding any page is relatively easy by seeing all your content based on parameters such as tags, categories, authors, date modified, and so on. The search option gives you the ability to find pages based on textual content. After you get to the page you’re looking for, making the required changes follows.
WordPress for SEO
Simply using a WordPress website does not imply that it will rank highly in online searches, and your SEO strategies need to be solid even if you’re using this CMS. You’re still tasked with providing great content and ensuring that all your content is well optimized for search engines. What WordPress does, though, is that it helps you address several basic factors that can help your website rank well.
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WordPress lets you add SEO plugins to fine-tune your SEO efforts. While a plugin does not optimize a website, it helps make the process easier and more efficient for website managers. Some of the top ones include Yoast SEO, SEO Writing Assistant by SEMrush, Google XML Sitemaps, SEO Ultimate, and Squirrly SEO.
WordPress for Mobile Friendliness
Having a completely responsive mobile-friendly website has an effect on SEO. Google and Bing use this as a ranking signal in their algorithms upon detecting that users are carrying out searches on mobile devices. Generally, mobile-friendly websites outrank their non-mobile-friendly counterparts in searches conducted on mobile devices. As a result, if you’re hoping for mobile users to visit your website, optimizing it accordingly is crucial.
Fortunately, creating mobile-friendly responsive websites is fairly straightforward when you use WordPress. Besides, WordPress provides apps for iOS and Android, giving creators the ability to write, edit, and publish posts by using their mobile devices
What WordPress Can Do for Improving Page Speed
WordPress in itself does not come with a predetermined page speed. The speed at which any page loads depends on multiple factors, one of which is sever response time. In order to make it to the first page of Google’s search results, your website needs to compete with the time that the top 10 organic page results take to load.
WordPress lets you work on improving your page loading time in different ways such as:
- Using optimized images
- Updating plugins
- Enabling GZIP compression
- Minifying CSS, HTML, and JS files
- Cleaning up your database
Pros and Cons of WordPress
WordPress comes with multiple benefits, but you might have to face some possible drawbacks as well. For instance, while using the WordPress CMS does not include any fee, you will need to spend money toward web design, web development, and the hosting of your website.
Advantages of WordPress
- Free. The WordPress software is free to download as long as you meet its system requirements. However, you need to pay for hosting and for using premium templates.
- Flexibility and scalability. Flexibility sets WordPress apart from typical website builders because it lets you change just about any element through coding. Depending on your needs in the future, you may scale up your website or trim it down at any time.
- Choice of host. Moving your WordPress website between hosting providers is fairly straightforward, and you get to choose from several WordPress website hosting specialists.
- Plugins. Irrespective of the type of plugin you need, you may expect to find it through WordPress. These include plugins for e-commerce, website security, translations, member enrollment, data backup, contact forms, and more.
- The WordPress community. The global WordPress community is strong and continues to grow. While WordPress does not provide the type of tech support that you may receive from a website builder, WordPress web developers commonly reach out to other community members for solutions to their problems.
Disadvantages of WordPress
- Installing. Installing a WordPress website on your own can be challenging unless you work with a hosting provider that lets you go through a one-click installation process. If this is not the case, you’ll need basic technical know-how.
- Security and maintenance. One possible disadvantage of WordPress is that it requires regular software updates, failing which your website might become vulnerable to online attacks. While updating WordPress is fairly straightforward, there might be problems when it comes to individual plugins. In the worst-case scenario, this could lead to a temporarily non-functional website.
- Absence of direct support. While web developers have an extensive WordPress community to turn to when they face any type of problem, there is no support on offer directly from WordPress.
- No WYSIWYG. Website builders tend to give you a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) experience. However, you get to use an abstract interface when entering content through WordPress, so you don’t get to see the end result while you’re working on any webpage.
The Security Factor
The WordPress security team comprises around 50 experts, including security researchers and lead developers, and it regularly consults with leading hosting companies and other security researchers. However, just as is the case with websites created using other platforms, WordPress websites are vulnerable to malware infections and hijacking attempts. The good thing is that there are a number of security plugins that help make WordPress sites more secure. Some of the top ones include:
- iThemes Security
- Jetpack Security
- WP Cerber Security
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Is WordPress Good for Everyone?
While WordPress is good for making just about any type of website, some people might benefit by looking at other simpler platforms. You might not need WordPress if:
- You want a simple blog with no plans to make money through your efforts
- You want a basic website and don’t plan to grow your business online
- You don’t want to worry about updates and backups
You may use the WordPress.org CMS to create practically any type of website, be it a blog, an online shop, or a portfolio. Besides, it’s a great solution for small projects as well as for large enterprises. Just like any other WordPress review will tell you, WordPress is the market leader for a reason. It gives you complete freedom of what you may do with your website and lets you customize it any way you deem fit. If you’re still not sure about whether or not WordPress might work well in powering your website, consider discussing it further with a web design agency that specializes in this realm.